NC Turnpike/ATI asking vendors to demo newest toll technologies, especially IOP in April
By Peter Samuel
North Carolina Turnpike Authority (NCTA) has issued a request for expressions of interest from toll system vendors to demonstrate their latest equipment for highway speed tolling. They are looking for demonstration of the latest capabilities in cameras for license plate recognition, readers especially multi protocol, other RF, GPS.
NCTA is especially interested license plate recognition and in multi protocol readers, NCTA director of operations Barry Mickle tells us, because of their location between Florida and the E-ZPass region and the importance of interstate travel in their future tollroads. They are also very interested in improvements on the ISO 18000 6B sticker tags and the opportunity for lower cost transponders.
For the demonstrations they will have the use of the facilities at an emergency services training center next to the runway of an abandoned airfield near Sanford NC, 35 miles west of Raleigh. The runway pavement is just 0.8 miles, 1.2km long and 40ft, 12m wide.
They have a portable 3-lane gantry with a lift beam for convenient temporary setup of overhead equipment. And they will provide a small fleet of test vehicles, and power and lighting.
Tentatively they have four 2-day periods scheduled in April for demonstrations by four selected vendors. But they will finalize the arrangements after receiving responses to their RFEI - due March 5 - and making their selection of participants.
The RFEI: "In general, items of interest to the NCTA include but are not limited to technology performance data pertaining to multilane and single lane environments, tag variation, radio frequency read rate, radio frequency baud rate, radio frequency distance, radio frequency accuracy, radio frequency security, read/write capability, camera resolution, illumination requirements for image capture, in-lane triggering requirements, in-camera Optical Character Recognition (OCR) processing and memory, generated file sizes, processing speed of the backend OCR, GPS accuracy, etc."
They say they'd like tags counts, and descriptions of how problems such as cross lane reads are handled.
Not tests or a competition, just demos
Mickle tells us the primary motivation of his agency is to improve its understanding of what's available for its own needs on new toll projects in North Carolina. But in conversations with his counterparts in other states he realized there was a wider interest in the event. The Alliance for Toll Interoperability (ATI) is cosponsoring the demonstrations and there is an invitation going out for others to attend.
The demonstrations are not intended as tests or as a competition, Mickle says, and there will be no effort to verify claims made by the vendors or to rank them. It is strictly an opportunity to "showcase" the technologies and discuss them.
Vendors might also benefit by the opportunity to discuss the challenges for the technology and how their customers see their future needs.